Can I Mount and Use Any Standard Office Whiteboard Outside?
Actually no. Although most office quality whiteboards appear quite solid, that doesn’t make them waterproof. The actual white writable surface may resist water quite well. While that same surface can also be cleaned with a damp cloth to no ill effect. We can go further and even spray it with special whiteboard cleaning fluids when required. Again no damage in the short or long term usually occurs. But despite their basic resilience, they still won’t function properly as outdoor whiteboards.
Installed indoors, the humble dry wipe board continues to be a reliable and trusted tool. It just works, no wires, no software to update, no electronics to fail. It’s cost effective and easy to use. In the right environment it excels at was it does. However for all that, standard versions do not make good outdoor whiteboards.
So What’s the Problem?
There are two problems to overcome when something is exposed to our ever changing British weather. First there is the issue of direct water entry and secondly moisture. Outdoor whiteboards have to be designed from the outset to deal with these problems. That takes a completely different approach, we will be looking at that process a little later in this article. For now, simply putting a standard whiteboard outside, even under partial cover, will in time, create problems.
The standard whiteboard usually has some form of wood fibre core, something like MDF (medium-density fibreboard). You can read more about MDF in this Wikipedia MDF article. This MDF (or other wood fibre core) is susceptible to both water and moisture and will absorb it. This issue can get worse over time and cause rotting. In time this can affect the fibreboard and cause shrinkages that eventually can work their way through to surface.
Why Exactly is a Standard Whiteboard Not Suitable for Outdoor Use?
For an outdoor whiteboard to work it needs to be sealed from the environmental conditions it has to endure. If you examine most conventional dry wipe boards you will notice the black corners. These black plastic caps cover up the screw mounting hole and fill the large gap in the frame. This gap exposes the board to the elements allowing water and moisture to penetrate into the fibreboard core. The plastic caps do not offer any real protection, and we have our first vulnerable point on the board.
The frame is simply designed to finish the board off and hide the unfinished edges. It was never designed to be water-tight, and has no rubber or silicone seals. Hence we have another weak point for water and moisture to enter the board. With two points already making the standard boards unsuitable as outdoor whiteboards we come to a third.
This concerns the core material. As previously mentioned this wood fibre core can absorb water & moisture, so is obviously not suitable.
What Makes Dedicated Outdoor Whiteboards Truly Weather-proof?
To make an external whiteboard you have to go back to the drawing board (sorry for the pun). But you do need to manufacture it as a completely different product.
Outdoor whiteboards Frame Design
Let’s start with the frame, because as you look at dedicated outdoor whiteboards it’s the most obvious difference. Looking at the whiteboard, you will notice that those plastic corner caps have gone. Instead you will find a fully mitred corner. This design change removes a major weak point we looked at earlier. Obviously we still need to mount the board, but instead we have screw holes through the frame. These holes have a nylon sleeve that is securely fitted and sealed against the weather.
Unlike standard whiteboards, the frame is specially sealed against the whiteboard surface to prevent water and moisture entry.
Core That’s Better!
Next we come to the core material, as mentioned a wood based core would be unsuitable as it could absorb moisture. So for true outdoor whiteboards a plastic based core is implemented. Usually made from a fluted design to keep the weight and cost down. Of course plastic does not absorb moisture at all, so is ideal as the core material. This really is an important change. Because should water or moisture get past the many defences, the core material will not be affected. Any possible small ingresses will simply evaporate.
As a side note it may be worth mentioning that external notice boards use a similar core for both felt pin board based and whiteboard based locking units. You can read more about the outdoor notice board’s weather protection in this article – External Notice Boards – Certified Water Proof?
HPL (High Pressure Laminate)
Lastly to ensure that these outdoor whiteboards give you the very best performance and longevity, they are made with HPL (high pressure laminate). A technique usually employed on only a select range of whiteboards. Laminates are bonded at high pressure to create a hard wearing, durable and reliable surface.
So Now You Know!
So it’s really worth investing in a dedicated external whiteboard if you want it to last and keep performing at it’s best.
Guaranteed Freshness – Made to order!
The boards in this article have a minimum five year guarantee, which is impressive in itself. However it’ even more assuring to know that each board is made to order. This is hugely beneficial because it means all the seals on the board are freshly applied. This means that the board will last for the longest time possible.
Places to Use Your External Whiteboard
Outdoor whiteboards are ideally suited to school playgrounds, nursery playgrounds, restaurants & cafes. Also suitable for all kinds of visitor centres, parks, nature reserves and much more.
Check out the range here – outdoor whiteboard product page.